Thursday, January 24, 2013

College Blog: The textbook tango

Posted by on Thu, Jan 24, 2013 at 2:46 PM

It’s not a secret that college textbooks are overpriced. Used, new or rented, the total cost of textbooks that any given student needs for a single quarter (or semester) can range anywhere from $100 to over $1,000.

“Fall quarter, I spent around $1,000 on textbooks,” second year RIT Biomedical Sciences major Leah Pirela said. “I only got about four or five books, too.”

Pirela isn’t the only student at RIT who has had to spend an inordinate amount of money solely on textbooks. Nilan Lovelace, a third year Psychology major, has also gone home with a rather large hole in his wallet after buying his textbooks.

“If I buy them from Amazon, it’s about $300,” Lovelace said. “But if I buy them from Barnes & Noble, it’s about $600.”

With new editions of textbooks coming out nearly every year, it’s no surprise that the average student will spend at least $1,100 on textbooks for the school year. It doesn’t help that by the time students sell back their books, there always seems to be a new edition of the textbook out and they get a few measly bucks at best.

During my time at RIT, I haven’t had to spend too much on books. Granted, that may be mostly because I always hustle some Barnes & Noble gift cards out of family members every summer before I head back to school. But even after using the gift cards, I still pay a couple hundred bucks on three or four books every quarter.

I have a job on campus, and I worked all summer, but I’m still very much a living-paycheck-to-paycheck student – especially since I really don’t make much money. Between the cost of living, sorority dues and school supplies, there really isn’t much left to buy the textbooks I need for class.

Actually, I still haven’t bought the books I need for classes this quarter (We’re now in the seventh week of the quarter at RIT). There are only two books that I need, and they’re not too expensive to rent, but I just can’t afford them right now. I’ve never had to use my textbooks more than a couple times each quarter, so I haven’t worried too much if I couldn’t buy a book for a class.

Bad news is this: it turns out this is the only quarter when I actually need my textbooks. Guess that means I’ll just be spending some more time in the library for the next few weeks until the quarter ends.

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